Apnea vs Hypopnea: Difference and Comparison

It occurs due to obstruction of the pharynx, that is, the upper airway. These disorders can have a crucial impact on health. Two such conditions are- Apnea and Hypopnea. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Apnea is a complete cessation of breathing during sleep, while hypopnea is a partial reduction in airflow.
  2. Both conditions can lead to disrupted sleep and potential health issues, such as cardiovascular problems.
  3. Treatment options for both conditions may include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy and lifestyle changes.

Apnea vs Hypopnea

Apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more during sleep. Hypopnea is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences shallow breathing or a significant reduction in airflow during sleep, resulting in a decrease in oxygen levels in the blood.

Apnea vs Hypopnea

The symptoms can include loud snoring and tiredness even after sleeping for a long time. It can occur when the back muscles in the throat relax.

Hypopnea occurs when there is a partial blockage of air. It can happen during sleep as well as when the person is awake. The airflow decreases for a few seconds in respirations, and less oxygen reaches the red blood cells.

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonApneaHypopnea
DefinitionApnea is a sleeping disorder in which there is a total blockage of the airway. Hypopnea is a sleeping disorder in which there is a partial blockage of the airway.
Breathing mechanismA person cannot breath completely in this problem. A person faces slow breathing.
TypesObstructive and central. Central, obstructive and mixed.
ProblemsYou may face health problems like trouble in heart and high blood pressure. Health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases can happen.
SymptomsSudden headaches, frequent mood swings and sweating.sexual dysfunction, weight gain and choking.

What is Apnea?

Apnea is a crucial sleep-breathing disorder that can cause health problems if you ignore it for a long time. Heart trouble and high blood pressure are two of them.

Also Read:  an Observation vs an Inference: Difference and Comparison

Two types of sleep apnea are- 

  1. Obstructive– It occurs when a person is facing repetitive airway blockage. Both partial and total blockage can happen. As the chest muscles work hard to open the airway, the pressure keeps on increasing.
  2. Central– In this, the brain fails to give signals to the muscles to breathe. It can happen due to unstable respiratory control, as this type of apnea relates to the functioning of the nervous system. 

The symptoms are- dry mouth after waking up, sudden headaches, frequent mood swings, and sweating during sleep. 

sleep apnea

What is Hypopnea?

Hypopnea is a condition when a person has shallow breathing, and these episodes are known as hypopneas. The oxygen levels in the blood face a reduction.

It can occur when there is a partial blockage in the airway while the tissue in the throat becomes prominent. 

Three types of hypopnea- 

  1. Central– It happens when breathing reduces, and not the airflow. Some medications and problems in the brainstem can cause this type of hypopnea. 
  2. Obstructive– obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome(OSAHS) or obstructive hypopnea occurs when- there is a partial blockage in the airway.
  3. Mixed– This is due to a reduction in both breathing and airflow. It is a different category, yet it is a part of OSAHS. People who have this syndrome most likely face mixed hypopnea. 

The symptoms of hypopnea are- sexual dysfunction, excess weight gain, choking while sleeping, sleepiness during the day, loud snoring, and mood swings. 


Main Differences Between Apnea and Hypopnea

  • If you ignore apnea, you can face problems in the heart and high blood pressure. On the other hand, if you do not treat hypopnea, you may face diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 
  • Apnea is a severe disorder, while hypopnea is not a very severe condition. 
Difference Between X and Y 2023 05 21T091056.481
  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199601113340207
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012369216473800
Also Read:  Bronchitis vs Cold: Difference and Comparison

Last Updated : 07 September, 2023

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13 thoughts on “Apnea vs Hypopnea: Difference and Comparison”

  1. While both apnea and hypopnea can have significant health implications, the article effectively communicates the distinct characteristics of each condition, aiding in understanding and awareness.

  2. This article provides a comprehensive overview of apnea and hypopnea, including a comparison table outlining the main differences between the two conditions. Additionally, the description of symptoms and treatment options is very informative.

  3. The references provided support the credibility of the information presented in this article, giving readers the opportunity to explore the topic further.

    • The inclusion of references from scholarly sources adds depth and reliability to the content, which is essential for a topic as complex as sleep disorders.

  4. The comparison table is particularly useful in highlighting the key differences between apnea and hypopnea, making it easier for readers to grasp the distinctions between these conditions.

    • The clear organization of information in the comparison table is beneficial for those looking to understand these sleep disorders more effectively.

  5. This article does a great job of outlining the differences between apnea and hypopnea, as well as providing insightful information about the potential health risks associated with these sleep disorders.

  6. I appreciated the detailed explanation of the symptoms related to apnea and hypopnea. The sleepiness during the day and mood swings mentioned can have a significant impact on daily life and overall well-being.

    • These sleep disorders can indeed have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, especially when it comes to managing mood and energy levels during the day.

  7. This article provides valuable insights into the symptoms and potential health problems associated with apnea and hypopnea, shedding light on the seriousness of these conditions.

  8. I disagree with the statement that hypopnea is not a very severe condition. Although it may not be as immediately life-threatening as apnea, the long-term health consequences should not be downplayed.


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